Last week I asked you to share new rituals that you had heard about. Thank you for responding! While some of you responded on this blog, others wrote to me through Facebook or Twitter. Aren’t social media wonderful for purposes like these?! In no particular order, here is a summary of your ideas, plus a few of my own:
• Rabbi Mel Glazer: has an entire service on Blessing of the Pets, which he instituted years ago on Parashat Noach; many Synaplex™ synagogues have done so as well.
• Gary Stern: suggests creating an “Ally of the Jewish People” ritual, for someone who hasn’t formally converted to Judaism, but wants to actively participate in the life of the Jewish community.
• Rabbi Daniel Alter: bat mitzvah in the Orthodox community and zeved ha-bat (ritual for naming a new-born Jewish girl). Rabbi Alter notes that within the Orthodox community, many new or recovered rituals have been inspired by Feminism.
• Additionally, there has been a growth of rituals outside of the Orthodox for girls and women, GLBT Jews, and bedtime rituals for children.
• Lighting a yellow candle for Yom ha-Shoah, invented by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs: tinyurl.com/ykevgax.
• From Rabbi Mordechai Rackover: at the secular synagogue in Tel Aviv they make Havdallah between Yom ha-Zikaron and Yom ha—Atzma’ut.; Also from Rabbi Rackover: Men going to mikva on the same day their wives do (in observance of the laws of family purity).
• Developing non-Orthodox Chevrah Kadisha groups which are based in synagogues or the community-see Kavod v’Nichum, an organization that has lead this initiative: www.jewish-funerals.org.
• Creating just workplaces in kosher restaurants and providing a certificate attesting to it: www.utzedek.org/tavhayosher.
• Sending e-greeting cards for Jewish holidays, often with decent artwork.
• Holding an ecological Tu b’Shevat Seder.
• Holding a Tikkun Leil Shavuot—something that has taken root outside of the Orthodox community.
And, I also heard a few miscellaneous comments worth noting:
• A number of people recommended www.ritualwell.org, which is an excellent user-generated resource for new lifecycle rituals. (You can also find out about the history of the “orange on the seder plate” ritual there.) Also, a few people said that they search the Reform Movement’s website: www.urj.org.
• Rabbi Kerry Olitzky found that men are not experimenting with rituals in the same way that women are.
• Jonathan Freed wrote: “My father purchased me from our Orthodox synagogue for $1 following my Brit Milah,”—is anyone familiar with this one?
Thank you for your help and I’ll be doing further analysis in article that I’m writing about ritual. So—if you remember additional ones, please don’t hesitate to add to the list.
Rabbi Hayim Herring